- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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That’s bench banger DeJuan Blair, who seeks some sort of redemption or revenge after riding San Antonio’s bench during the Spurs’ run to the Finals last season, his fourth and final year with the franchise.
"Yeah, but I'm not going to bring that up,” Blair said after the Mavs evened the series with a stunning rout in Game 2. “The Spurs are a great team, but we can play with the best of them. We showed that tonight, but we've just got to keep it up. It's going to be a long series."
It’s guaranteed to go at least five games now, in part due to Blair’s contributions Wednesday night after a quiet Game 1 against his former team.
Blair had eight points, seven rebounds and four steals in 14 minutes during the win. The Mavs outscored the Spurs by 13 points with Blair on the floor.
Those numbers can be found in the box score. There’s no telling how many bruises the 6-foot-7, 270-pound Blair left on old buddy Tim Duncan while battling his future Hall of Fame former teammate on the block and under the boards.
“He had a physical impact,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Blair. “He was on the boards and was getting deflections. The only way we’re going to win a series against a team like this is to have guys playing at complete full capacity, and he did. He gave us a huge lift.”
The highlight of the night for Blair was stripping Manu Ginobili in the open court and rumbling for a one-man fast break that he finished with a spinning layup. That play was a bonus for the Mavs. Blair’s job is to throw his big body around.
“That's my plan,” Blair said. “We don't have anyone on this team to do that. I know if I can play, I can come in and bring that physicality and just do what I do."
Blair didn’t get to do that much during last season’s playoffs, giving him a little extra motivation when he returned to San Antonio with the Mavs this postseason.
SAN ANTONIO – Truth be told, there might have only been one member of the Dallas Mavericks who was happy to draw the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round.